Daily Insider: RW Johnson myths busted – Dockside kid who voted Labour, fought Apartheid.

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RW Johnson myths busted – Voted Labour, fought Apartheid

When I interviewed RW Johnson and his wife Prof Irina Filatova at their home in November 2015, the brilliant writer and political scientist gave me a copy of his then recently published autobiography Look Back In Laughter

It was a cathartic project, he explained. Something to bring back happier days. The book had been written after a swim in KZN’s Trafalgar Beach lagoon gave him necrotizing fasciitis caused by flesh eating bacteria. It is 89% fatal. The former Oxford Don survived, but at the cost of a leg amputated above the knee.

We’re lucky to still have RWJ delivering his regular truth bombs at SA’s political class. And privileged he has agreed to deliver the opening keynote at the Fourth BizNews Conference, now less than two months away – from August 30 to September 2. The gathering of our tribe is truly an event not to be missed. More so with RWJ in attendance.

I interviewed him yesterday in anticipation of the event and to shatter some perceptions around this forthright, call-a-spade-a-bloody-shovel academic and writer. Who’d have thought he always voted Labour; was detained during Apartheid; and grew up on Liverpool’s dockside. And that’s just for starters. A fascinating, complex man. Click here to listen to the interview (and below to watch it).

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WATCH: Prolific author, columnist and revered academic RW Johnson is known among fans and foes as a Rhodes scholar who became an Oxford Don and, since returning to SA in 1995, outspoken critic of the ANC. This interview, however, digs deeper into what makes him tick, exposing much more about BNC#4’s opening speaker. Including Johnson’s extremely humble roots, fiercely anti-Apartheid past (and present) and the real reason he continues to challenge taboos, attack convention and speak uncomfortable truths to power. He will deliver the opening keynote in the Drakensberg at the Aug 30-Sept 2 gathering.

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